The boss of Hitachi is set to meet ministers this week as the Japanese electronics and engineering giant tries to strike a deal for a new nuclear power station in north Wales. Hitachi chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi is due to arrive in London and meet business secretary Greg Clark for talks on the £10bn-plus Horizon nuclear plant destined for Wylfa in Anglesey. Britain’s nuclear ambitions have been dented by a financial crisis at Hitachi’s Japanese rival, Toshiba, which is trying to sell its NuGen nuclear project at Moorside in Cumbria. Brexit and Britain’s imminent withdrawal from Euratom, Europe’s nuclear regulator, have also cast a shadow over the industry, while June’s snap election also threatens to delay decisions. Toshiba’s woes, which stem from its ill-fated acquisition of American nuclear reactor maker Westinghouse, look likely to leave Hitachi as Japan’s sole nuclear reactor vendor – intensifying the pressure to agree a deal over Horizon. Nakanishi’s talks are expected to hinge on a guaranteed price for Horizon’s electricity. Hitachi wants Tokyo and London to inject funds into the project and possibly shoulder some of the project’s risks. The wrangling reflects the high stakes at play. France, China, Korea and Japan are vying to get their nuclear reactors plugged into Britain’s grid in order to showcase their technology internationally. Meanwhile, the cost of renewable technology, such as wind farms and solar panels, is dropping, posing awkward questions for nuclear subsidies.
Times 23rd April 2017 read more »